French professor Kaiama Glover recently authored a New York Times Book Review about several, newly-translated works by French novelist and 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature winner Patrick Modiano. Prof. Glover’s comprehensive review covers five separate publications and discusses overarching themes, which include post-World War II social and political tensions in France, as well as Modiano’s own personal narrative.

An excerpt:

"Modiano’s narratives stage the past as a series of mysteries and invite his readers to follow clues with him. But there will be no answers. The more he, his characters, his readers attempt to put the ­pieces together, the more fragmented the big picture ­becomes. The 'facts' obscure as much as they reveal. Things happen only insofar as they have been witnessed and acknowledged, but shame provides great motive for forgetting. And so, in relating the 'coldness and hostility,' the 'insensitivity and heartlessness' of his mother and the 'murky, clandestine' figure of his father, Modiano makes a point to implicate the world that made them. He conjures, if obliquely, the national past that was backdrop to his individual trauma."

Read the full review.

Prof. Kaiama Glover joined Barnard’s faculty in 2002. Her teaching and research interests include francophone literature, colonialism and postcolonialism, and sub-Saharan francophone African cinema. She has been the recipient of fellowships and awards from the Fulbright Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the New York Public Library, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.